Rocha KO’s Tough Ashie In Seventh
By William Trillo
Photos: Marlene Marquez
Welterweight Alexis Rocha (22-1, 14 KO’s) found out that
when a fighter travels halfway around the world to put
on the gloves, he is going to give it his all when he
steps into the squared circle. That’s exactly what the
fighter from Ghana, George Ashie (33-6-1, 25 KO’s) did
in front of a packed house of mostly Rocha fans. Coming
in as a last-minute sub, no one really knew what to
expect from the fighter from Africa. By the end of the
night everyone, including Rocha, found out Ashie came
here to die on his sword if he had to, and he darn near
did. The Golden Boy promotred battle for Rocha’s WBO
NABO Welterweight belt gave the fans in the YouTube
Theater a night they won’t soon forget.
At the start of the fight Ashie looked somewhat clumsy
and out of his element. Rocha was moving and landing
effectively early on. It looked like this was going to
be a pushover, but that would soon change.
In the early rounds it became clear that Ashie’s awkward
counter punching skill was his weapon of choice and that
was posing a problem for Rocha. Another tool in Ashie’s
arsenal was a huge set of cajones, and that would serve
him in good stead. A vicious right hook dropped Ashie in
round three. Most fighters would have stayed down for
the ten count. But not Ashie. How he arose to fight on
is anyone’s guess, especially Rocha’s. There is a simple
answer…the huge set mentioned above.
From that point on this one went to the trenches; these
boys were exchanging bombs at an unbelievable clip now
and the fans were loving it.
In round six Rocha delivered a very blatant low blow,
(again the cajones), that had the ref halt the action to
give Ashie a long moment to collect himself. When the
round resumed a sudden clash of heads busted open
Rocha’s eye. The blood was flowing and the pro Rocha
crowd was going berserk.
Round seven was about to give fans the thrill they were
waiting for. When Rocha uncorked a picture perfect right
hook, Ashie’s head spun like a top and he crashed to the
deck with a thud. No need to count here, this one was
over at the 2:08 mark as ref Tom Taylor waved this one
For Rocha this may have been an unexpected test as no
one really knew about Ashie. But in the end, he
prevailed, scoring maybe a B- on the report card. Rocha
is now looking for the elite fighters at 147 pounds.
Whether or not he is ready remains to be seen.
On his KO victory Rocha exclaimed, “I wanted to make a
statement, Crawford is next. But if that can’t happen, I
want all the big names. I’m signed to the best
promotional company in the world, and I know they’ll
make it happen. He [Ashie] was a tough fighter, but I
knew he wasn’t going to hang with me.”
Minimumweight Oscar Collazo (6-0, 4 KO’s) used every
ounce of his diminutive frame to score a very brutal
fifth round KO over Yudel Reyes (15-2, 5 KO’s). Over the
course of the first four rounds, it was a give and take
affair with Collazo looking to be hunting for a spot to
open fire. Then in round five a stunning right-hand
combo put Reyes flat on his back.
It appeared the fight could have been stopped at that
point but a resilient Reyes somehow managed to gather
himself to get up and fight on. Discretion was not the
better part of valor here and Collazo made Reyes pay for
that error in judgment.
Suddenly wicked head shots were bouncing off the dome of
Reyes in rapid fashion. Truthfully, the ref should have
stopped this one then and there, but he did not. Moments
later Reyes was clubbed into a prone and unconscious
state at the 2:59 mark of the fifth round.
After the fight Collazo said, “I feel super good. We did
exactly what we wanted to do. If we went to the body, we
then went back up and that’s how we made it happen. The
knockout punch was the hook. We had been practicing
since camp so I’m glad we made it happen. I want the
champions next. Specifically, The WBA champion, Melvin
Jerusalem. So, Melvin if you’re listening, I want you.”
Super Middleweight Bektemir Melikuziev (11-1, 9 KO)
hopped, skipped and jumped his way to a KO victory over
Ulises Sierra (17-3-2, 10 KO’s) in this featured
attraction. Having stunned his opponent with wicked body
shots time and time again, Bektemir hurt his foe but not
enough to stop the show.
Sierra went into survival mode which made it difficult
for Bektemir to put an early cap on the night. But in
the third round Sierra took a couple shots to the solar
plexus that pushed the air permanently out of the fallen
foe. Credit Bektemir with a KO stoppage at the end of
round three. For his efforts he grabbed the vacant WBA
Continental Americas Super Middleweight strap.
Looking to avenge is only loss Bektemir announced, “I’m
happy that I just won and as I said before Gabe Rosado
is the guy I’m looking for and if not him, anyone. I’m
ready. Just give me any 168 fight. Thank you to all of
my supporters, we’re moving little by little. We’re
getting closer to the title shot, we got another title
today and we’re looking forward to the world
Lightweight Floyd Schofield (13-0, 10 KO’s) has all the
natural talent a fighter could ask for but Alberto
Mercado (17-5-1, 4 KO’s) showed him that he has a long
way to go to be the elite fighter he is touted to
become. For Schofield it’s going to take a bit more
buffing and polishing in the gym.
While pitching a unanimous decision shoutout Schofield
showed some flashes of brilliance along with some
impatient one punch KO attempts. The kid is good and
appears to be on his way to a fine career. With the
likes of trainer Ronnie Shields in his corner along with
some good matchmaking, Schofield has a chance to become
a fighter to watch. With the victory Schofield won the
vacant WBA International Lightweight.
“My feet burn, but it was a good victory,” said Floyd
Schofield. “To the fans, thank you for all the love and
support, and next time I’ll definitely get that
knockout. We want to fight Keyshawn Davis next.”
Super Lightweights Alejandro Reyes (9-0, 5 KO’s) and
Jose Zaragoza (9-6-1, 3 KO’s) slugged it out over six
grueling rounds in this pedal to the metal slugfest.
With a house full of ardent supporters on his side “Pin
Pon” Reyes used the fan generated electricity to
motivate him as he captured a hard earned unanimous
decision nod. Zaragoza gave Reyes a very stiff challenge
that should go on to pay dividends as the Reyes career
moves forward. Judges scores were tight as two saw the
fight 58-56 and the other gave Reyes a 60-54 tally.
Super Bantamweight Adan Palma (5-0, 4 KO’s) dropped
Pedro Salome (3-2-2, 1 KO) with a crisp right hand in
round two and went on to win an impressive unanimous
decision. This was a competitive scrap and very fan
friendly. Salome showed he was not there for simply a
paycheck, but Palma’s skills were too much for him to
overcome. Final scores read 40-35 x 3.
Super Featherweight Daniel Garcia (4-0, 3 KO’s) took on
an overly seasoned Jonathan Perez (40-34, 32 KO’s) in
the opening bout of the night. With only three fights
under his belt Garcia looked composed and sharp as he
took on the 70 fight journeyman. After four very
entertaining rounds Garcia was given the unanimous
decision with scores of 40-36 across the board.